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Shopping malls - how to attract new customers?

18 of May '22

Shopping centers are returning to the favor of consumers after a period of pandemonium, but as a result of new customer expectations, their functions are evolving. They are becoming social gathering places, great schowrooms, centers where we can enjoy many small, needed services. Thus, I expect these spaces to raise their standards to meet modern aesthetics. This is where modern architectural solutions come into play, including for ceilings, which are crucial in defining the entire space.

The position of shopping centers is evidenced by the fact that, according to the Polish Council of Shopping Centers, their turnover from May to December 2021 was only 0.75 percent lower than in 2019, while 30 percent higher than from the same period of 2020. The pandemic has accelerated changes in the behavior of shopping center customers. They now come to them less often to shop and more often to pick up products ordered online or try on clothes to then purchase them online. Increasingly, they are being treated as leisure centers - hence the popularity of gyms or expanded dining spaces, among other things.

In recent years, customers have come to care much more about the positive experience of using shopping centers (the so-called user experience) than about cheap and large shopping offerings. This has huge implications for investors regarding what modern shopping malls should look like," says Jacek Szeląg, Managing Director of Hunter Douglas Poland.

How to improve the customer experience?

In recent years we have had a lot of revitalization in shopping centers. Aesthetic and functional ceilings play a special role in them. Ceilings define the space, help diffuse light and guarantee acoustic comfort. It is also important that they harmonize with their surroundings and thus enhance positive feelings by building the atmosphere of the space.

Warsaw Blue City - Luxalon®

© Hunter Douglas

Attractive interior thanks to aesthetic ceilings

An example of a shopping center where the aesthetics of the interiors have been significantly improved thanks to the use of ceilings is Warsaw Atrium Targówek - one of the two largest shopping centers on the right bank of Warsaw (53,000 sq m of retail space) - and Warsaw Blue City - one of the largest of its kind in Warsaw (65,000 sq m). Luxalon® V100/V200 open ceilings from Hunter Douglas were installed. They consist of hanging, "floating" panels that create original visual patterns and lines without restricting the spaciousness of the interior. Andrzej Dulniak, an architect from Studio Quadra, who worked on the architectural concept for the interiors of both facilities, notes that using these ceilings was a good decision.

We wanted to modernize the appearance of the interiors of the two shopping centers, and both we, the investors, and the users of the centers with whom we spoke, are very pleased with the results. The ceilings used have a light, modern and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Theyare perfect for public spaces," says Andrzej Dulniak, who also stresses that - they provide efficient operation and easy access to air conditioning, lighting and sprinkler systems. This is a very functional solution also for the maintenance of the facility.

Wroclavia shopping center - Solid Wood Linear

© HunterDuglas

Similar results were achieved at the Wroclavia shopping center (71,000 sq m of floor space), which is integrated with the main bus station and located adjacent to the city's main railroad station in Wroclaw. In parts of the walkway and throughout the food court there, Veneered Wooden Grid wood veneered ceiling systems were used - in standard versions and in special 3D shapes - by Hunter Douglas, which consist of wooden fins connected to each other by aluminum round profiles. Solid Wood Linear (in both straight and curved bent versions) and Solid Wood Grid ceilings were also used in this project.

When choosing the ceilings, we were primarily guided by aesthetics - we wanted our ceiling to have wooden elements that create a warm atmosphere - and functionality - the idea was that it would be openwork and ventilation of the rooms would be efficient. We also wanted the ceiling to be made of high-quality materials and to have the appropriate certificates confirming this," says Marek Borkowski of the IMB Asymetria architectural firm, which designed Wrocław Wroclavia. In his opinion, the quality of the materials saves money on renovations in the future, plus they improve the overall impression.

Wroclavia shopping center - Solid Wood Grid

© HunterDuglas

The high quality of Hunter Douglas ceilings is also appreciated by Natalia Jablonska, Interior Design Manager of SUD Poland - the studio that selected Solid Wood Grid for use in the shopping centers: Promenada (Warsaw), Forum Radunia (Gdansk) and in Manufaktura in Lodz.

Each of SUD Polska's projects, is unique and closely related to the DNA of the investment. The range of solutions offered by Hunter Douglas allows us to implement most, even very ambitious concepts. Not without significance is also the high quality of the products, which allows us to use HD ceilings without worrying about the final effect," says Natalia Jablonska.

Further changes in shopping centers and large-format stores

30% of shopping centers in Poland are more than 15 years old, and some will soon celebrate their 20th anniversary.

They are not up to the standard and aesthetics of the new malls. Therefore it will be difficult for them to compete on the market, if they do not modernize and do not take the opportunity to adapt to new customers' needs - also in terms of aesthetics," says Jacek Szeląg. - The selection of high-quality ceilings allows, at a relatively low cost, to significantly increase the standard of a building. Especially that the wood ceilings we offer are 100% ecological, which is becoming increasingly important for consumers in Poland," he adds.

For more information, visit the company's styron Hunter Douglas Polska Sp. z o.o. on the A&B portal.

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